Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog

History

AVOT 5/13/2018 09:57 AM

Both the Mishnah and Talmud are unique in their style of composition for in effect it allows the students thousands of years later to feel as though they have entered into that ancient study hall to hear the discussion of the scholars of Israel. Though most of the text of the Mishnah covers matters of law, ritual, commandments and observances, the tractate called Avot deals almost exclusively...

DAYS IN MAY 5/6/2018 10:49 AM

There are times in life that one is able to see the beginning and end of an idea or movement in its entirety. When I was a child I remember vividly that the first day of May was called May Day and was the day of celebration of the proletariat Left. Fiery speeches, and loud bands, tens of thousands of marchers waving red flags all dominated the media and street of the day. The mood of the day...

PESACH 3/18/2018 12:15 PM

One of the more amazing things about the holiday of Pesach is that even though it is over 3300 years old it is relevant and current to our world today just as it was when it was originally celebrated by the Jewish people in Egypt long ago. It naturally speaks to every generation in a different tone and nuance, but its basic message of human freedom and Godly service has never changed. Its...

COSTUMES 3/5/2018 08:51 AM

Since all of us are still in a somewhat post-–Purim frame of mind, I am taking the liberty of commenting on costumes, past and present that mark the holiday. I received many pictures of my blessed great-grandchildren, all of them dressed in costume. Some were airline pilots and flight attendants while others were mail carriers and even letters. There were a number of Queen Esthers, police...

MY ORCHID PLANT 2/19/2018 11:06 AM

Among my many failings is the fact that I do not have a green thumb. Plants and I do not agree and, in fact, many times I feel that the plants that I have in my home are just downright hostile to me. The care of these plants and the reason that they have survived so long has always been due to the distaff side of my home. I very much enjoy flowers and plants and I see in them some of the...

NOT ME 2/5/2018 10:56 AM

The current dispute between Poland and Israel, really between Poland and the Jewish people, highlights one of the great weaknesses of the human character. Even after committing and participating in the worst of atrocities against innocent fellow human beings, the perpetrators rarely have the courage and moral fortitude to acknowledge their actions and attempt to atone for their guilt. The...

THE INSCRUTABLE FUTURE 1/14/2018 11:33 AM

Human beings are limited drastically by our inability to forecast and see the future accurately while we are engaged in the present. There is no question that world history would read far differently if only the assumptions of the present could be judged by the realities of the future. In the autumn of 1914 the German army stood at the gates of Paris and the Kaiser believed that his victory was...

IT IS COLD OUTSIDE 1/9/2018 10:43 AM

The well-known axiom about the weather is that everyone talks about it but there is no one that can do anything about it. So this is an opinion article about the weather without any pretense by the writer to be able to do anything about it. We here in Jerusalem have experienced a number of quite cold days, heavy rains and high winds recently. Of course it is winter here and these things are not...

VAEIRA 1/7/2018 09:32 AM

Moshe had complained to God that since the Lord had sent him on a mission to the Pharaoh, the situation of the Jewish people had not only not improved but in fact had worsened. Moshe’s view of the matter was that somehow the Lord had not fulfilled the Divine part of the bargain. This opinion was based on Moshe’s human logic and understanding, which, even though Moshe was on such a high level,...

IS JERUSALEM STILL IN PLAY? 1/2/2018 09:11 AM

We have been told time and again over the past 70 years that Jerusalem – its borders and sovereignty – is one of the most contentious issues that will have to be settled before there can be a legitimate peace between Arabs and Jews here in the Land of Israel. In fact, the diplomatic experts have always contended that this issue is so complex that it must be left as the last piece of a...